Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday launched the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem and Appeal Fund with N10 million.
The short ceremony took place at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Buhari, in his remarks, urged urged Nigerians to avoid issues that promote their differences.
This is even as he called on corporate organisations and business concerns to support combat veterans through voluntary donations, employment and welfare support.
Reiterating that Nigeria’s security was not negotiable, the President made the following remarks:
“We must not forget those currently engaged in Internal Security Operations, particularly the on-going war against insurgency in some parts of the country. It is indeed befitting to honour the memory of the gallant officers and men who paid the supreme sacrifice to keep the country united. For those who survived with varying degrees of incapacitation, they require our attention and care and we will continue to provide and cater for them.
“The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration was intentionally fixed for 15th of January, annually, to commemorate the end of our civil war. It reminds us of the need to guard jealously the unity of our country which was won at a great cost.
“This day calls to mind the negative impact of strife and conflicts and demands that as responsible citizens, we must at all times avoid actions that emphasize our differences. There is no doubt that the strength of Nigeria lies in her diversity. It behoves us therefore, to engage in activities and endeavours that feed our diversity as a source of strength not weakness.
“The nation is appreciative of the gallantry and sacrifices of Officers and Men of our Armed Forces in the campaign against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations. This has led to the return of normalcy in affected parts of the nation. The Boko Haram terrorists have been substantially defeated and degraded to the extent that they are only daring soft targets.
“However, all hands must be on deck to check the attacks on soft targets, mostly innocent Nigerians. The peace and security of Nigeria is non-negotiable and the security agencies must continue to do their work diligently. As a government, we will continue to provide necessary logistical support to ensure that our Armed Forces operate with the best modern warfare equipment, while at the same time adequately addressing the issues of their welfare.
“Likewise, government will remain steadfast in developing our alliances with neighbours and friends in the international community for the total defeat of the insurgents. The task of resettling and rehabilitating our citizens as well as the reconstruction of territories affected by the war will continue to be one of the priorities of this Administration.
“We shall not rest until all our displaced persons are safely resettled into their communities without fear of further attacks. It is for this reason that the North East Development Commission and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development were established. The Executive Arm of Government hereby commends the National Assembly for the passage of the Bill establishing the Commission.
“It is our hope that with prudent management of limited resources and support from well-meaning Nigerians and Corporate bodies, the Commission working in close collaboration with the Ministry and friends abroad will be able to deliver on their mandate.
“We are aware that it is the business of Government to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. We will not fail to provide our citizens with an atmosphere that is devoid of security threats and criminality, where life is stable and progress is certain.
“Government is also well aware that an insecure environment stifles businesses and undermines growth and prosperity. For this reason, we will like to commend and reinforce our gratitude to our men and women in the Armed Forces who have risen to the challenge of securing our nation and providing enabling environment for national progress.
“It is on this note that we acknowledge and commend the rising trend, where business concerns offer discounted services to our men and women in the Armed Forces in appreciation of their selfless sacrifices to the fatherland. We commend these laudable initiatives and urge more of our business concerns to do likewise. Such gestures would no doubt encourage them in defence of our country and its people.
“The unfortunate cost of the war against insurgency and other Internal Security Operations, is the loss of lives of some of our officers and men in the Armed Forces. These very sad occurrences create deep wounds to loved ones. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure that the loss of these bread winners does not relegate the spouses and dependents to a life of want and deprivation. Government will do all in its powers to look after the bereaved.”
President Buhari further urged service chiefs to pay all veteran entitlements to ensure that their families do not suffer:
“Service leaders must take urgent steps to settle the entitlements of these affected citizens as well as the welfare packages designed for their dependants. It is the responsibility of government to ensure that the families of our fallen heroes do not suffer the loss of their loved ones and at the same time be deprived of their due benefits.
“To ensure that our veterans continue to share the comradeship that existed while in Service and adequately cater for their welfare at exit, the Federal Government established the Nigerian Legion. It is delightful to note that the Legion is carrying out initiatives in transportation, agriculture, housing and other ventures in partnership with the private sector.
“I am happy to note that the Legion has continued to be a rallying point of veterans and has done its part in catering for the welfare of their ailing members. I enjoin the leadership of the Legion to continue in this spirit. I also urge Nigerians to accord them the needed support, friendship and patronage.
“As the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Legion, I wish to pledge my continued support and that of the Federal Government to the organisation. My appreciation goes to the State Governors who are patrons in their respective States for the support they are providing to the Legion.
“Government agencies at the Federal and State levels should continue to patronise services of Nigerian Legion Corps of Commissionaires in the provision of security services. The potentials of our ex-servicemen are enormous and the economy can tap into this for national development.
“As I launch the emblem shortly, I wish to call on all Nigerians and others resident in Nigeria to procure and wear the emblems with pride to identify with those who laid down their lives for the peace and security of our fatherland. I encourage all to donate generously in support of our veterans and dependants of fallen heroes.”
The emblem launch is an annual tradition to acknowledge and appreciate the gallantry and sacrifices of combat veterans of the first and second world wars, peace keeping operations around the world and internal security operations, including the ongoing campaign against terrorism in Nigeria.
January 15th of every year is celebrated as the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
From Wednesday 16th of October 2019 to 15th January 2020, top government officials and other Nigerians are encouraged to wear the emblem on their clothing as a mark of honour and respect for the soldiers.